A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, April 14, 2006

Well, this is an interesting development.

First, take both hands, and place them under your chin, because otherwise you're going to get a nasty bruise when your jaw hits the floor over this one. I had to check the paper's date to make sure this wasn't a late April Fool's prank, but no:
Lawmakers split Omaha school district along minority lines
Backers say move gives each group more control

LINCOLN, Neb. -- In a move decried by some as state-sponsored segregation, the Legislature voted yesterday to divide the 45,000-student Omaha school system into three districts -- one that is mostly black, one predominantly white, and one largely Hispanic.

Supporters, including the bill's sponsor and the state Legislature's lone black senator, said the plan would give minorities control over their own school board and ensure that their children are not shortchanged in favor of white youngsters.

Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, was expected to sign the measure into law.

State Senator Pat Bourne of Omaha decried the bill, saying, ''We will go down in history as one of the first states in 20 years to set race relations back."

''History will not, and should not, judge us kindly," said Senator Gwen Howard, also of Omaha.

Attorney General Jon Bruning sent a letter to one of the measure's opponents saying that the bill could be in violation of the Constitution's equal-protection clause and that lawsuits almost certainly will be filed.

But its backers said that at the very least, its passage will force policy makers to negotiate seriously about the future of schools in the Omaha area.

The breakup would not occur until July 2008, leaving time for lawmakers to come up with another idea.

''There is no intent to create segregation," said Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the Legislature's only black senator and a longtime critic of the school system.

He argued that the district is already segregated, because it no longer buses students and instead requires them to attend their neighborhood school.

Chambers said the schools attended largely by minorities lack the resources and quality teachers provided to others in the district. He said the black students he represents in north Omaha would receive a better education if the community had more control over its district.

So is THIS the only way students can get an equitable education in Nebraska?

Is this just a ploy?

I dunno. What do YOU think?

5 Comments:

At 4/15/06, 1:20 PM, Blogger graycie said...

Like you, I couldn't believe this when I saw it. Although it does sound a bit like what the city council might try here. Our city is smallish -- about 100,000 people. It is extremely segregated as to neighborhood: South [City] is white and rich; Southeast is poor white and blue-collar-decades-after-the-industry-closed-down; Northwest is African-American and covers the entire range economically; there is no such area as Northeast because they all pretend they are in The County. We have two high schools -- one in Northwest and one in South [City]. Guess how the school population splits? Guess which one gets everything first and before the money runs out? The demographics average out because the Northwest school has a full socio-economic range, while South [City] includes Southeast and has nearly no middle class. Guess which one is easier to teach in?

The newspaper article made me wonder if that isn't such a bad solution -- take the clout away from one sector and really spread it around. I am very interested to see how this plays out.

 
At 4/15/06, 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz here from I Speak of Dreams

I couldn't believe it when I read it.

Hey -- subject hijack, since I've misplaced your email address (assuming I had it).

I agreed to participate in this survey, and to forward it to educator friends and acquaintances. It's been out since November 2005, so you may have featured it before; if so, I apologize.

"We would be very grateful if you could complete this short questionnaire

here's the link

http://www2.oecd.org/survey/Surveys/TakeSurvey.aspx?surveyid=1027%20

on the role of brain in education compiled by the University of Bristol and the Department for Education and Skills, UK. Responses can be anonymous, but if you are happy to be contacted about further research on this topic, please fill in your contact details at the end of the questionnaire. Many thanks for your time.

Dr Sue Pickering & Dr Paul Howard Jones,
Graduate School of Education,
University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1JA, UK. W
Website: www.bris.ac.uk/education/research/sites/brain

 
At 4/15/06, 7:53 PM, Blogger elementaryhistoryteacher said...

I heard about this last night and what amazed me is the glossed quickly over the story with no supporting interviews or video footage. It's an interesting social experiment, however, I don't think the school system can support the deluge of lawsuits that will be filed.

 
At 4/16/06, 9:28 AM, Blogger Lone Pony said...

Look at it this way, Sen. Chambers admits "the district is already segrated because it no longer buses students" and they already attend their neighborhood school anyway.
At least he's dealing with the truth.

Maybe they're putting the control where it needs to be. I'd like to see everybody quit blaming and start taking some responsibility for their own.

 
At 4/20/06, 1:14 PM, Blogger Brad Hoge said...

If this is a question about control and the distribution of resources, I fail to see how this will sove anything. It might, if there are measures in place to fund and equip each district equitably, but without such provisions it will still lead to the rich getting richer.

 

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